Florida’s Silver Alert plan is five years old. The Silver Alert program sends out statewide alerts shortly after a senior with Alzheimer's or related dementia goes missing. Since Silver Alerts began, 712 Alerts have been issued and 92 seniors have been found after an individual saw a Silver Alert, recognized the missing senior and called law enforcement.
“Silver Alerts are a valuable tool for law enforcement,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey. “If you see a Silver Alert, take notice. Your actions could help save a life.”
“Seniors make up almost a quarter of Florida’s population, and the number of older Floridians is expected to double by 2030,” said Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Charles T. Corley. “The success of the Silver Alert program demonstrates the commitment by all of Florida’s citizens to protect vulnerable members of our families and our communities.”
Florida’s Silver Alert plan was initiated by an executive order signed on Oct. 8, 2008, and was codified into law by the Florida legislature in 2011. It is a standardized system to aid local law enforcement in the rescue of an elderly person with an irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease) who goes missing. The plan calls for the broadcast of information via the media and highway message signs (when a vehicle is involved) to enlist citizens in the search for an endangered senior. This year, the Silver Alert Committee is partnering with AAA South to provide notifications to AAA automotive service vehicle drivers throughout Florida.
Under the Silver Alert plan, local law enforcement agencies are encouraged to develop policies and procedures that work best in their respective jurisdictions. If the missing senior is driving a vehicle, local agencies contact FDLE’s Missing Endangered Persons Information Clearinghouse to request activation of a Florida Silver Alert and use of the Florida Department of Transportation’s dynamic message signs.
Once the person has been recovered, the Department of Elder Affairs, in coordination with the Area Agencies on Aging and Florida’s Memory Disorder Clinics, work to provide follow-up assistance to the senior.